Kane Williamson and a hobbling Henry Nicholls put on a batting masterclass as New Zealand tightened their grip on the second Test against Pakistan.

The pair delivered an almost faultless 369-run fourth-wicket partnership, the third highest for any wicket in Black Caps Test history, as the hosts finished day three with a lead of 354 runs.

After New Zealand had declared on 659-6, the tourists were sent in to face 11 overs and the in-form Kyle Jamieson removed Shan Masood as Pakistan closed day three on 8-1.

Williamson had earlier posted another two blistering sessions to score a brilliant 238 and become the quickest of three New Zealanders to score 7,000 career Test runs.

The world’s top-ranked Test batsman notched his fourth Test double century and was supported by a gutsy 157 from Nicholls, who was hampered by a calf strain while bringing up his third Test 150.

Nicholls pushed through the pain barrier on his home ground at Hagley Oval to join Brendon McCullum as the only players with two Test hundreds in Christchurch.

Daryl Mitchell raced to his first Test century before the declaration, scoring 102 not out, as New Zealand recorded their fifth highest all-time Test total.

Starting the day 11 runs behind the tourists’ first-innings total, the hosts picked up where they left off yesterday with Nicholls bringing up his century off 213 balls for 315-3.

Limping between the creases, Nicholls dug deep to navigate the new ball and went on the attack, hitting the first six of the innings, as Williamson surged past 7,000 career Test runs.

The Black Caps skipper was once again putting on a clinic, punching his 21st boundary back past Naseem Shah to bring up the 300 partnership from 459 balls.

The 30-year-old continued to rack up the milestones, reaching 150 in 247 balls, and bringing up 400 on the final ball of the session as the hosts headed to lunch 103 runs ahead.

Kane Williamson continued his impressive form to give New Zealand control of the second Test against Pakistan on Monday.

Williamson scored his 24th Test century and second in as many Tests on a strong day two for the Black Caps at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The right-hander finished the day unbeaten on 112 as New Zealand reached 286-3, trailing Pakistan by just 11 runs, with Henry Nicholls (89) also not out.

Williamson, who moved top of the ICC rankings for Test batsmen last week, was scratchy early before accelerating.

He needed 105 balls to reach his half-century but just another 35 to bring up his ton.

It came after Pakistan put themselves in a promising position by reducing the hosts, who lead the two-Test series 1-0, to 71-3.

The wickets of Tom Latham (33), Tom Blundell (16) and Ross Taylor (12) had Pakistan on a high, and they should have had Nicholls cheaply.

The left-hander was caught by Mohammad Rizwan on three, but Shaheen Afridi (1-45) overstepped.

Williamson and Nicholls attacked as the day went on and Pakistan had their troubles in the field, the former edging through Shan Masood and Haris Sohail in the slips on 82.

Masood dropped Williamson after the star New Zealander passed his century before Rizwan put down an easy chance off Nicholls – then on 86 – off Shaheen.

Nicholls hurt his calf late in the day but managed to get to stumps alongside Williamson on an excellent day for the Black Caps.

Kyle Jamieson ripped through Pakistan’s batting line-up but their middle order proved defiant as New Zealand edged day one of the second Test.

The 6’8” fast bowler grabbed his third five-wicket haul for 69 runs in his sixth Test appearance as the tourists were bowled out for 297 in Christchurch.

Mohammad Rizwan’s side were reeling at 88-4 at lunch after Kane Williamson put Pakistan into bat and Jamieson recorded figures of three for 26 runs in a devastating first session.

Tim Southee made the breakthrough removing Shan Masood for a duck, before Jamieson claimed Abid Ali for 25, Haris Sohail for one and Fawad Alam for two as Pakistan lost three wickets for 17 runs.

Azhar Ali and Rizwan’s 88-run fifth-wicket partnership helped Pakistan recover from their morning collapse until Jamieson found Rizwan's outside edge and BJ Watling snared his opposing wicketkeeper for 61.

New Zealand will aim to continue their winning streak in the second and final Test against Pakistan, with Kane Williamson's side having the chance to make history in Christchurch.

The home team won the opening game by 101 runs late on the fifth day in Mount Maunganui, finally seeing off spirited resistance from Pakistan's tail with 4.3 overs remaining.

Victory means the Black Caps have now won five Tests on the spin – they have never previously managed six in a row in the format.

There will be at least one change to their team for their first outing in 2021, Neil Wagner ruled out with a broken toe.

The left-arm paceman played on through the pain in the first Test, earning praise from Williamson. However, he is expected to be sidelined for six weeks, leading to New Zealand calling up Matt Henry.

As for Pakistan, they are set to be boosted by the return of captain Babar Azam, who missed the previous game – as well as the Twenty20 series that preceded the Test action – with a broken thumb.

Without their talismanic captain, the tourists were fragile at the top of the order. They fought back well from 52-5 to post 239 in their first innings, while nearly saved the game despite slipping to 37-3 second time around.

They will be up against it, though; New Zealand have lost only one of their previous seven Tests played at Hagley Oval, a seven-wicket defeat to Australia in February 2016.



Williamson had a fabulous 2020 in Test cricket, despite the international schedule being badly hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The right-hander had the highest average (83) in the format across the previous calendar year out of those players to have had at least four innings, with his knock of 129 in the first Test – combined with Steve Smith's struggles for runs against India – moving him back to the top of the ICC world rankings for Test batsmen.

A career-best score of 251 against West Indies substantially helped his cause. That was his only innings in the series too, as he missed the second Test due to the birth of his first child.


The tourists felt the absence of their captain in the series opener and still almost fought their way to a draw.

Mohammad Rizwan, who was the skipper in the first Test, said Babar was on track for a return, but a decision would have to wait until Sunday.

"He is fine now. He wants to hit some more balls in the nets and we'll decide [on Sunday]," he said, via the New Zealand Herald. "He's a legend and wants to hit some more balls because [on Friday] he batted very well. If he plays, we bat around him. He has a great impact on our team."

Babar, 26, averages 45.44 in 29 Tests for Pakistan, who are aiming to level the series.


- New Zealand will be looking to win a third consecutive multi-game bilateral Test series against Pakistan.
- Pakistan are winless in their past 10 Tests outside their own country (D2, L8). However, their last such victory did come against New Zealand, by an innings and 16 runs (November 2018 in Dubai).
- Tom Latham has scored 579 Test runs at Hagley Oval, 214 more than any other player at the venue and his second most at any ground in the format (696 at Basin Reserve).
- Ross Taylor is 13 away from becoming just the fifth player to score 1,000 runs in Tests between New Zealand and Pakistan. He would be only the second Kiwi to achieve the feat (after Williamson).
- Tim Southee has a bowling average of 19.9 in Tests at Hagley Oval, his best at any home venue. He has picked up five or more wickets in six of his seven appearances at the venue.

New Zealand's bowling attack left it late to break down a determined Pakistan and clinch a breathtaking 101-run win on day five of the first Test at Mount Maunganui.

Mitchell Santner (2-52) took the decisive wicket with four overs to spare as the Black Caps were forced to be patient and take six wickets in the last session to seal a tense victory on the final day on Wednesday.

Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam and captain Mohammad Rizwan pieced together a gritty 165-run fifth-wicket partnership that swallowed up 62 overs from the opening two sessions.

Each of the five Black Caps bowlers claimed two wickets apiece as Neil Wagner (2-55) and Kyle Jamieson (2-35) took the key wickets of Rizwan and Fawad respectively.

Pakistan's tailenders were only 27 balls away from a memorable draw in the first of two Tests when Santner caught and bowled Naseem Shah (one), as the tourists lost 31-6 to finish 271 all out in their second innings.

Chasing 373 for victory, Pakistan resumed on 71-3 and the visitors appeared in some early trouble when Trent Boult (2-72) had Azhar Ali caught behind for 38 on the third ball of the day.

But the pair of Fawad and Rizwan dug in and rode their luck on occasions to reach 137-5 at lunch with Pakistan battling for the draw.

The duo made it to tea at 215-4 and, by the time the partnership was broken after more than 62 overs, Pakistan had reached 240-5 as Jamieson removed Rizwan lbw for 60 runs off 191 balls.

New Zealand closed in on victory in the first Test against Pakistan after a dominant day four in Mount Maunganui.

The Black Caps set Pakistan 373 for victory at Bay Oval on Tuesday before reducing the tourists to 71-3 in their chase as Tim Southee took his 300th Test wicket.

After losing openers Shan Masood and Abid Ali for ducks, Pakistan rallied and Azhar Ali (34) and Fawad Alam (21) were unbeaten at stumps, needing another 302 runs for an unlikely victory.

Trent Boult (1-24) removed Abid, who was caught by BJ Watling following a short ball, before Masood went in the following over, edging Southee (2-15) to Ross Taylor at first slip.

Pakistan were yet to score at that stage, and Southee had Haris Sohail (9) caught by Mitchell Santner.

Southee became the third player to take 300 Test wickets for New Zealand, joining Richard Hadlee (431) and Daniel Vettori (361). Only Hadlee (61 matches) reached the feat faster than Southee (76).

But New Zealand were left to get seven wickets on day five after Azhar and Fawad put on an unbroken 34-run stand.

Earlier, the Black Caps found the quick runs they were after thanks mostly to openers Tom Blundell (64) and Tom Latham (53).

Blundell and Latham put on 111 for the opening wicket, New Zealand getting to 180-5 before declaring.

Naseem Shah finished with 3-55 for Pakistan.

New Zealand took a step towards victory after dismissing a resilient Pakistan for 239 on day three of the opening Test.

Mitchell Santner's stunning run out sparked the Black Caps, who claimed two late wickets to bowl out Pakistan before stumps and leave the tourists still trailing by 192 runs on Monday.

Pakistan had crawled to 80-6 amid the looming prospect of having to follow on before captain Mohammad Rizwan (71) and Faheem Ashraf (91) shared a 107-run seven-wicket partnership to lead the team to 187-6.

But Rizwan and Pakistan's stubborn resistance was broken by a run out following Santner's direct hit at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, where Yasir Shah (four) was the next to go before Kyle Jamieson (3-35) and Neil Wagner (2-50) claimed the remaining two wickets.

Pakistan resumed on 30-1 – in response to the Black Caps' imposing 431 first-innings total – and they were left reeling as New Zealand's four-man pace attack wreaked havoc early.

New Zealand quick Jamieson made the first breakthrough of the day – knocking over Abid Ali for 25 in the 13th over.

Trent Boult (2-71) joined in the action, dismissing Mohammad Abbas (five), while Azhar Ali (five) and Haris Sohail (three) followed shortly after as a pair of Tim Southee (2-69) wickets quickly left Pakistan five down and 62-5 at lunch.

Despite a fractured toe, Wagner claimed the wicket of Fawad Alam (nine), who was caught behind by BJ Watling, before Rizwan and Faheem thwarted the Black Caps.

Rizwan and Faheem made New Zealand toil hard in between three rain breaks but once Santner struck, the hosts quickly skittled Pakistan to take full control of the first of two Tests.

New Zealand are in a strong position following day two of the opening Test after Kane Williamson's century guided the hosts to an imposing first-innings total against Pakistan.

Williamson chalked up his 23rd Test hundred, the Black Caps captain's 129 leading New Zealand to 431 all out at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.

In response, Pakistan lost an early wicket – opener Shan Masood (10) dismissed by Kyle Jamieson (1-5) – before reaching 30-1 at stumps.

Abid Ali (19 not out) and nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas (0 not out) will return to the crease, with Pakistan still trailing by 401 runs.

New Zealand resumed on 222-3 on the second day of the first contest – Williamson making his way back out to the middle unbeaten on 94.

It was only a matter of time before Williamson raised his bat to celebrate back-to-back Test tons, having reached triple figures against West Indies, after Henry Nicholls posted a half-century from 108 deliveries.

A pair of wickets fell prior to lunch, Nicholls (56) and Williamson, as the pair's 133-run stand was eventually snapped – Naseem Shah (1-96) broke the partnership with the first ball after drinks and Williamson followed four deliveries later after edging Yasir Shah (3-113) to Haris Sohail.

New Zealand were 281-5 when Williamson departed, but BJ Watling guided the Black Caps past the 400-run mark as he recorded his fifty prior to the tea break.

Watling reached 73 in the final session before becoming Shaheen Afridi's fourth victim (4-109), while Jamieson (32), Mitchell Santner and Neil Wagner (both 19) made contributions as Tim Southee (0) fell cheaply.

Ross Taylor claimed New Zealand's handling of spinner Yasir Shah will dictate how the first Test pans out as he reflected on becoming his country's most capped cricketer.

The Black Caps reached 222-3 at stumps on day one in Mount Maunganui on Saturday as Taylor (70) and captain Kane Williamson (94 not out) helped the Kiwis rebuild from 13-2.

Taylor's appearance brought up a notable personal milestone as he broke the record for most games for New Zealand in all formats with 438, overtaking Daniel Vettori, and the 36-year-old was given a standing ovation at the Bay Oval as he went to the crease.

He marked the landmark appearance in style, putting on 120 runs for the third wicket with Williamson before he fell to Shaheen Afridi (3-55).

"Every time you represent your country, it's a special moment," Taylor told a media conference.

"To represent them 400-odd times and to get the record, it's not what I play for, but it's nice to have got it and a special occasion. 

"I got some nice words from BJ Watling and the team this morning and it felt a little bit like my 100th Test [he now has 104], going out to bat today with a standing ovation. 

"I didn't hear what the ground announcer said, but he must have told the crowd, because I'm sure they wouldn't have known."

Taylor acknowledged that while New Zealand were in a good position leg-spinner Yasir (0-56) remains the danger man.

He added: "When Yasir Shah was bowling, we were on our toes. Quite often the spinners in New Zealand don't bowl much on day one or at all, so it shows what type of wicket it is. 

"Obviously, we are happy with where we are at 222-3 and would have taken that at the start of the day. 

"But it's how we turn up on Sunday and get through that first hour or two that really dictates how good a day this really was.

"Yasir Shah is a world-class bowler and even the way he bowled today, just trying to get through his overs, pick and choose his moments when he tried to attack.

"We've got a bit of luck and we're fortunate to get through that stage. But he's definitely going to play a big part tomorrow and whenever we bat again."

Shaheen claimed Pakistan's sloppiness in the field cost them as they put down key chances, including dropping Williamson when he was on 18.

"They batted hard but I am frustrated by the dropped catches. It's disappointing when you drop catches," he said.

"We did try to get wickets early on with new balls and took two wickets but if you don't take catches it will be difficult.

"It's a part of the game but if you need to win matches you have to take catches and have to improve the fielding. 

"They know how to play in their conditions so it is tough, but the ball is still new and we will come hard to take wickets as early as possible."

Kane Williamson put New Zealand in a strong position, nearing a century against Pakistan after day one of the first Test.

The Black Caps captain reached 94 not out to guide New Zealand to 222-3 at the close of play at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Saturday.

Shaheen Afridi (3-55) had put Pakistan on top early after they elected to bowl, but Williamson and Ross Taylor led the hosts' response.

Taylor departed for 70 in what was a milestone appearance as he broke the record for most games for New Zealand in all formats with 438.

Henry Nicholls (42) was unbeaten alongside Williamson at stumps with the Black Caps in position to build on day two.

Pakistan made the most of the early conditions as Shaheen reduced New Zealand to 13-2.

Shaheen had openers Tom Latham (4) and Tom Blundell (5) caught at third slip.

But Pakistan would be left to rue dropping Williamson, Shan Masood putting down a tough chance when the New Zealand captain was on 18.

Taylor and Williamson predictably led the Black Caps' response, combining for a 120-run third-wicket partnership.

Williamson brought up his 55th score of 50-plus in Test cricket, equalling the New Zealand record held in the format by Stephen Fleming.

Shaheen struck again to remove Taylor caught behind before Nicholls was dropped on six in a further setback for Pakistan.

The second new ball almost brought another wicket for Shaheen, Williamson – on 86 – edging to first slip where Haris Sohail was unable to grab a low chance.

Inzamam-ul-Haq says Mohammad Amir's decision to end his international career "doesn't look good" for Pakistan.

Amir this month confirmed to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) he no longer wishes to be considered for selection.

The 28-year-old pace bowler had already called time on his Test career and has now decided he does not want to play for his country in white-ball cricket.

Amir stated that issues with the PCB management team prompted him to quit after he was omitted from the squad for the tour of New Zealand.

The left-arm quick said he had been "tortured mentally" and could not take any more, saying the management team would not stop bringing up his decision to turn his back on Test cricket.

Former captain and chief selector Inzamam spoke of his regret that Amir will not feature for Pakistan again, but feels he should have spoken to head coach Misbah-ul-Haq before making his mind up.

"Amir is a good player and his absence has affected the side. But we have other bowlers as well, who are doing well," Inzamam told the media.

"Such incidents should not take place in Pakistan cricket and this is more important for me as compared to how it affects our bowling strength.

"A player should not leave cricket in such a manner, after having served Pakistan cricket, as it doesn't look good,

"If Amir had any issues with Waqar [bowling coach Younis], he should have talked with Misbah and if that didn't work he should have approached the PCB.

"If the issue remained after this, then he had the right to take such a decision. It's unfortunate to see a player retire just because he was unhappy with one person."

New Zealand will start a two-match series against injury-hit Pakistan at Bay Oval on Boxing Day with an ICC World Test Championship final in their sights.

The Black Caps beat Pakistan 2-1 in the Twenty20 International series and will be expected to inflict more misery on the tourists in the longest format.

A whitewash along with a heavy defeat for second-placed India against leaders Australia could see New Zealand return to Lord's for the World Test Championship decider, due to be staged next June.

Mohammad Rizwan will captain Pakistan in the first Test and may also have to lead the side in the second at Hagley Oval if Babar Azam has not recovered from a fractured thumb. 

Opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq (thumb) and all-rounder Shadab Khan (thigh) will also miss out in Mount Maunganui, with spinner Zafar Gohar drafted into the squad.

New Zealand have lost just two of their previous 13 Test series, winning 10 and drawing one, and have come out on top in their last two versus Pakistan.

The Black Caps were far too good for West Indies recently, claiming back-to-back innings victories.



Losing world-class batsman Babar to an injury that kept him out of the T20I series was a huge blow for the tourists.

The prolific skipper will be sorely missed in Mount Maunganui, but head coach Misbah-ul-Haq hopes he will be back to lead the side in the second Test in Christchurch.

"We are hopeful that Babar will be fit for the second Test," Misbah said. "He has started gripping the bat and practising with a tennis ball.

"You can't really predict much with injuries like that but I just hope he gets better in five or six days and he has about eight days or so to get ready, which would be a big boost for us."

Pakistan have won only one of their last seven multi-game bilateral Test series outside of their own country - losing five and drawing one. 

Their solitary victory was a 1-0 triumph over Australia in the United Arab Emirates in October 2018.



Kane Williamson missed the Black Caps' hammering of the Windies in the second Test in Wellington following the birth of his first child, with Tom Latham stepping in.

He had struck a magnificent 251 in the first Test, a career-best in the longest format. 

There was no place for Devon Conway in the squad to take on Pakistan, but Will Young retained his spot as batting cover and all-rounder Daryl Mitchell was also selected with Colin de Grandhomme (ankle) ruled out.

Pakistan must be wary of Neil Wagner, who has fond memories from the only previous men's Test to be played at Bay Oval - claiming match figures of 8-134 against England in November 2019.

Wagner has taken 21 Test wickets since the start of last year when pitching the ball short of a length, six more than anybody else during that period.



- Tim Southee is four scalps away from becoming just the third player to take 300 wickets for New Zealand (431) and Daniel Vettori (361) being the others.

- Ross Taylor needs another 95 runs to become the fourth player to score 1,000 in men's Tests between New Zealand and Pakistan. He would be the first Black Caps player to achieve a feat Javed Miandad, Asif Iqbal and Inzamam-ul-Haq can boast.

- Pakistan have won more Tests against New Zealand (25) than they have against any other opponent.

- Rizwan has a catch success rate of 95.5 per cent in Tests since the start 2018 (21/22); the highest rate of any player to claim more than 10 catches across that period.

Shadab Khan is the latest Pakistan player to be ruled out of the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand.

All-rounder Shadab captained the tourists in a 2-1 Twenty20 International series defeat to the Black Caps after Babar Azam missed out with a fractured right thumb.

Shadab will play no part in the first Test at Mount Maunganui, which starts on Saturday, after sustaining a thigh injury.

The extent of the damage done by Shadab will be revealed after he has undergone MRI scans in Tauranga on Thursday.

Pakistan have drafted in uncapped left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar in the absence of Shadab.

Opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq also misses the opening match of the series with a thumb injury.

Mohammad Rizwan smashed 89 as Pakistan avoided being swept in the Twenty20 series against New Zealand, despite a late wobble in their run chase in Napier.  

Opening the batting, Rizwan hit 10 fours and three sixes in his maiden international half-century in the format, helping the tourists surpass the home team's total of 173-7 with four wickets to spare in the third and final game.  

Mohammad Hafeez contributed 41 to a second-wicket stand worth 72 and Pakistan appeared to be cruising at one stage, only to lose wickets in the closing overs.  

Tim Southee dismissed Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan – continuing to stand in as captain in the absence of injured Babar Azam – in successive deliveries in the 19th over, while Rizwan departed to Kyle Jamieson to leave the score at 171-6.  

However, left needing three from the final three balls, Iftikhar Ahmed sealed victory in style with a huge six. New Zealand were hampered by the absence of Ish Sodhi, the leg-spinner only sending down one over before suffering an injury in the field.

Devon Conway had earlier helped the Black Caps post what looked to be a competitive total at the halfway stage, hitting seven fours and a solitary six as he made 63 from 45 deliveries.  

Tim Seifert made 35 at the top of the New Zealand order, while Glenn Phillips (31) shared a 51-run partnership with Conway for the fourth wicket.  

Faheem Ashraf claimed 3-20 during his four overs, including dismissing home skipper Kane Williamson for one, bowled off an inside edge to a short delivery.   

There were two wickets apiece for Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf, though both went at an economy rate above 10 an over in an innings that included 16 fours and six sixes.  

The two nations now switch their focus quickly to Test cricket, with the series opener getting under way at Mount Maunganui on Boxing Day. 

Pakistan confirmed on Monday that Babar will not recover from a broken thumb in time to play, though the batsman may yet feature in the second and final Test, which takes place in Christchurch.

Misbah-ul-Haq believes Pakistan will rise to the occasion in the first Test against New Zealand despite the absence of captain Babar Azam and opener Imam-ul-Haq. 

Both players suffered fractured thumbs during training sessions in Queenstown last week and are yet to return to practice. 

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed on Monday that the duo could return for the second Test, which begins in Christchurch on January 3. 

They will, however, sit out the opener in Mount Maunganui, with Imran Butt added to the 17-man squad and Mohammad Rizwan confirmed as the 33rd captain to lead the team in the longest format. 

The first Test begins on Boxing Day, three days after the final Twenty20 international, with the hosts already 2-0 ahead in that series. 

"It is disappointing to lose the T20I series against a well-settled New Zealand side, who utilised their resources and conditions to their advantage," head coach Misbah said. 

"We need to up-skill and improve our individual and team performances, including in Tuesday's match, and the sooner we get these sorted the better it will be in term of player confidence and team results as 2021 will not be any easier as we have two major events. 

"Contrary to the T20I side, the Test side appears to be pretty organised and we boast some experienced cricketers, both in the batting and bowling departments. With some competitive cricket on the tour now under the belt, I am hoping we will be a better outfit in the longer version of the game. 

"Although it will be nearly two weeks to Babar's injury when the first Test starts, it will be hard on him and the team to play him without any net sessions.  

I remain confident and optimistic that other players will rise to the occasion in Mount Maunganui and use the opportunity to rise to the occasion and put the disappointment of the T20I series behind them."

Pakistan squad for Tests: Mohammad Rizwan (captain for first Test), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah (Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq not available for first Test).

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